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Ransomware threats double in 2019

(Image credit: Datto)

There have been more than double new ransomware modifications (opens in new tab) in the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year, according to figures from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky. New ransomware families are also emerging.

The company’s IT Threat Evolution Q2 2019 report says it detected 16,017 new ransomware modifications this year. This time last year, the number stood at 7,620. More than 230,000 users were attacked during the quarter, which also represents almost a 50 per cent increase (last year it was 158,921).

Kaspersky believes that the increase in malicious appearance, as well as the appearance of new strains, is a “dangerous sign” of intensifying criminal activity (opens in new tab).

WannaCry remained the strongest, most widely spread weapon, followed by the dead GandCrab (opens in new tab).

“In this quarter we observed an increase in the number of new ransomware modifications, even though the Gandcrab family closed down in early June,” said Fedor Sinitsyn, security researcher at Kaspersky.

“We expect new actors to replace GandCrab and urge everyone to protect their devices by installing software updates regularly and choosing a reliable security solution.”

Sinitsyn added that GandCrab is a good example of the effectiveness of ransomware, which continues to wreak havoc all over the internet, despite its creators calling it quits.

Kaspersky advises everyone to always keep their software updated, to keep backup copies of everything they do, and never pay ransom.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.